U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has reassigned its new chief of diversity and inclusion, Richard Torres-Estrada, amid an investigation into social media posts criticizing police and former President Donald Trump, Military.com reported.
SOCOM welcomed Torres-Estrada in a March 25 tweet. However, in a matter of days, critics denounced the new chief for some of his public Facebook posts.
One post last summer implicitly compared Trump to Adolf Hitler. It was a well-circulated meme of a genuine photo of Trump – June 1, 2020 – holding a Bible in front of St. John’s Church across from the White House juxtaposed with a doctored photo of Hitler appearing to hold up a book resembling a Bible – Hitler is not holding anything in the original photo.
Another post was a cartoon last May wherein police arrest the fairy-tale Three Bears and take a statement from Goldilocks, with the caption, “If you still don’t understand how racism works, remember SHE broke into THEIR house. #StopRacism.”
“USSOCOM is aware of the situation, and the command has initiated an investigation,” SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw said in an email, following up Tuesday with an email that Torres-Estrada has been assigned to other duties, pending the results of the investigation.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Monday that SOCOM commander Gen. Richard Clarke notified Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the investigation. Austin supports SOCOM’s decision to investigate the posts.
“Obviously, we take the need to promote diversity and inclusion seriously here, in the department,” Kirby said. “The secretary has spoken of that many times. And we certainly want that work to be transparent, to be credible, to be effective and, of course, professional. We want everybody to take those duties and those responsibilities seriously and professionally.”